Lionsgate Acquires Stake in Reality Producer Pilgrim Studios

Founder Craig Piligian will continue to run company behind “Ghost Hunters,” “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” “Fast N’ Loud” and “The Ultimate Fighter”

Last Updated: November 12, 2015 @ 2:10 PM

Lionsgate has acquired a stake in the unscripted TV producer Pilgrim Studios, the company announced Thursday.

The investment in the company founded by Craig Piligian in 1997 continues Lionsgate’s expansion into unscripted TV programming.

Pilgrim’s slate includes 47 unscripted and scripted series across 27 networks, including Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters,” OWN’s “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” Discovery’s “Fast N’ Loud,” National Geographic’s “Wicked Tuna” and IFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“We’re delighted to be in business with Craig Piligian and his team, who have achieved remarkable success building Pilgrim into a global leader in unscripted content with a valuable portfolio of long-running returning series and reality brands,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer in a statement. “This transaction scales and diversifies our television business by aligning Pilgrim, the market leader in nonfiction programming, with our robust scripted production operations as well as our premier syndication business operating under the Debmar-Mercury banner.”

“We’re thrilled to become part of the Lionsgate family and align ourselves with Jon Feltheimer, Kevin Beggs and the rest of an incredible team that has built a world-class organization,” Piligian said. “This deal creates tremendous synergies between our companies, including the benefits of our respective relationships in the industry and the strength of Lionsgate’s worldwide distribution infrastructure; we’re very excited to work together to accelerate the next phase of our growth.”

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by EVP, Corporate Development Laura Kennedy, Lionsgate General Counsel & Chief Strategic Officer Wayne Levin and Linda Michaelson of Sheppard Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP. Gretchen Stockdale, COO and General Counsel for Pilgrim, advised on the transaction with Thomas Dey from ACF and Matt Thompson from Sidley Austin.